WANs use numerous types of devices that are specific to WAN environments, including:
Modem-Modulates an analog carrier signal to encode digital information, and also demodulates the carrier signal to decode the transmitted information. A voiceband modem converts the digital signals produced by a computer into voice frequencies that can be transmitted over the analog lines of the public telephone network. On the other side of the connection, another modem converts the sounds back into a digital signal for input to a computer or network connection. Faster modems, such as cable modems and DSL modems, transmit using higher broadband frequencies.
CSU/DSU-Digital lines, such as T1 or T3 carrier lines, require a channel service unit (CSU) and a data service unit (DSU). The two are often combined into a single piece of equipment, called the CSU/DSU. The CSU provides termination for the digital signal and ensures connection integrity through error correction and line monitoring. The DSU converts the T-carrier line frames into frames that the LAN can interpret and vice versa.
Access server-Concentrates dial-in and dial-out user communications. An access server may have a mixture of analog and digital interfaces and support hundreds of simultaneous users.
WAN switch-A multiport internetworking device used in carrier networks. These devices typically switch traffic such as Frame Relay, ATM, or X.25, and operate at the data link layer of the OSI Public switched telephone network (PSTN) switches may also be used within the cloud for circuit-switched connections like Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) or analog dialup.
Router-Provides internetworking and WAN access interface ports that are used to connect to the service provider network. These interfaces may be serial connections or other WAN interfaces. With some types of WAN interfaces, an external device such as a DSU/CSU or modem (analog, cable, or DSL) is required to connect the router to the local point of presence (POP) of the service provider.
Core router-A router that resides within the middle or backbone of the WAN rather than at its periphery. To fulfill this role, a router must be able to support multiple telecommunications interfaces of the highest speed in use in the WAN core, and it must be able to forward IP packets at full speed on all of those interfaces. The router must also support the routing protocols being used in the core.